Chris McAlister has represented Great Britain at two World Championships
Thames Valley's Chris McAlister has represented Great Britain at two World Championships

TVH triumph to take third consecutive NAL Premiership title

Written by Alex Seftel

Premiership Division Fixture 3A – Glasgow

Full results on OpenTrack

Watch back on Vinco

Thames Valley Harriers won their final fixture of the National Athletics League season in Glasgow by 115 points to ensure they retained the Premiership title, winning the crown for a third consecutive season.

The result also means that TVH – inspired by GB internationals such as Bianca Williams, Chris McAlister, Amelia Strickler and Annie Tagoe – have finished top in every season since the NAL re-formed with both genders for 2021.

The party therefore continues for the West Londoners, but those involved at Scotstoun would have been forgiven for thinking it had started when Glasgow Jaguars decathlete Andrew Murphy’s bagpipes helped introduce the athletes and gave the event a unique flavour early on.

Kayleigh Presswell got the ball rolling for those in light blue with a commanding 62.99m hammer win, before Portugal’s Ruben Miranda edged out Adam Hague (Sheffield and Dearne) on countback at 5.02m to take victory in the pole vault.

McAlister described his 51.34s 400m hurdles win over perennial rival Jack Lawrie (Woodford) as requiring his “hugest ever dip” as the Englishman somewhat cruelly prevented the Scot from a hat-trick of first places this season on his turf.

But popular news followed in the discus, when Shaftesbury Barnet’s Nick Percy threw 61.14m in the opening round, to record the best ever distance on Scottish soil.

His club-mate Hayley McLean was comfortable in taking the women’s 400m hurdles race in 56.44s, before the versatile Krishawn Aiken won the 100m and 200m in 10.49 and 21.45. These results all kept up title-rival Harrow’s hopes down at their fixture in Birmingham. That’s because Thames Valley were pushed back through Nicole Kendall’s second in the hurdles ahead of Jaguars’ Emily Craig, with Daniel Offiah’s second and fourth in the respective sprints, and Sheffield’s Lee Thompson third in both of them.

The women’s equivalents had been one of the most hotly-anticipated battles of the day, but it was no surprise that the resurgent Williams came through in 11.44 over 100m, some three tenths ahead of British Universities’ (BUCS) champion Leonie Ashmeade of Sheffield (11.76).

Tagoe – who is no doubt on a high after her World Athletics Championships relay selection – followed suit with 24.21 in the 200m to beat Trafford’s Hannah Kelly.

Lawrie’s teammate Georgie Forde-Wells took maximum points in back-to-back matches following her NAL debut success on home soil in round two. The UK triple jump champion this time opted for the long jump in which she leapt out to 5.78.

Strickler’s best effort of 17.51m continued her impressive 100% record in the NAL on her ninth appearance, the competition following up other recent performances over 17.50 in Nottingham, Leverkusen and Birmingham.

The first three all set personal bests in the women’s 3000m which was led home by WGEL’s Bea Wood in 9:30.95, who beat TVH’s Yvie Lock (9:34.39) and Kiera-Jayne Atkinson of Chelmsford (10:23.46), while another exciting trio battled in the 100m hurdles. This time, BUCS champion Marli Jessop (Shaftesbury) sped away and came home in 13.74, from Jane Davidson (WGEL, 13.91) and Trafford’s Commonwealth finalist Alicia Barrett (14.17).

The Manchester side then tasted top spot through European 4x400m champion Seren Bundy-Davies over one lap (53.40), but TVH picked up yet another second place to keep them on course for overall success through Irish bronze medallist Roisin Harrison (53.53).

Woodford kept up some pressure through Youcef Zatat (shot put, 1st, 17.95) and Commonwealth Games seventh-placer Ellie McCartney (pole vault, 1st, 3.82m), but ultimately TVH were already home and dry as champions by the time that they won the men’s 4x100m and women’s 4x400m relays. Also in the field, one of Jaguars’ best results came through Henry Clarkson who won the triple jump with 15.46m.